A Serious Case



I walk into a local coffee shop with a purpose.

Well, maybe there never was a purpose.

Maybe out of habit I’ve let the weight of gravity pull me down the hill from my house or maybe it’s an instinctive desire for the necessary elixir of caffeine.

Either way I find myself placing a right hand on the business’ door and pushing.

It’s somewhere around 8am in Sausalito, and about 11pm in China.

In this particular place I have my route totally memorized: I glide the door back into it’s original resting place, take about four steps, make eye contact and smile at the barista, then pace to the opposite side of the bar counter.

As I hop onto the last faded red wood bar stool, Ariana who works behind the bar already knows what I’m going to order. She smiles and asks, “For here or to go?” I contemplate as if the question was unexpected and murmer, “umm, for….here…..?” I never really know the answer to that question until we lock eyes. I’m also too groggy to communicate in a more advanced fashion.

Usually our short conversations happen first thing in the morning, and it takes about two black coffee’s before I feel like a member of society again. Up until a few sips of sugarless black espresso with water there is a high probability that I would trade a visit to a dental surgeon with an attempt at interaction with other parts of the human race. I’ve done the math and normally after five sips of coffee I can start asking people questions. After one whole coffee I can answer questions, and after two coffee’s I’m ready to put on socks.

Right now as I sit at the end of the bar we find ourselves deep in the no speaking fly zone. A revolution could start right now and I’d be more concerned with getting buzzed from a morning brew.

The grinding of coffee beans and screaming of steamed milk echo like an animal mating dance as I await first contact with liquid alertness.

Heaven forbid if someone I know decides to initiate chit-chat. Hopefully an elderly person doesn’t come in with a map looking for directions or a missing baby coming crawling through the walkway. No talking right now. So far, as Ariana prepares my americano, everything is looking good. I just woke up fifteen minutes ago and my bedhead makes me look like an escaped convict which is perfect for right now. No one come up to me. No one even look at me. Almost in the clear.

I find myself seated at this local cafe and out of the thousands of coffee’s I’ve enjoyed during the course of twenty nine years of life this is the most important.

Ariana glides a steaming round cup of espresso and water along the countertop. Somewhere I’m sure an angel has just gotten his or her wings.

Saying thank you I want to marry her. She is a Guatemalan saint.

In my head math equations are starting to come together. In precisely thirty seconds I’ll be able to greet strangers on the street.

Taking one sip I’ve embraced my serious case of coffee addiction. Taking another sip I’m hoping someone I know stops by to chit-chat.

I walk out of this local coffee shop with a purpose.

Well, maybe there never was a purpose..


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